Discrimination faced under British Nationality Act 1981

The latest report of The Joint Committee on Human Rights, published information that the British Nationality Act 1981 still contains sections that can amount to discrimination on the grounds of a parent’s gender or person’s marital status. This specially persist in the requirements of obtaining British citizenship in the British overseas territories. The report notes that the government aims to reduce discrimination in the British Nationality Act 1981, but in fact, no significant measures have been taken recently to address this issue.

Historically, the process of passing British citizenship to children was more difficult for unmarried couples or women. Over time, British National Act 1981, was modified, and some amendments were adopted. For example, “registration as a British” procedure was introduced. Although, it does not automatically grant citizenship. Each application must meet the criteria set by the Home Office, including the requirement of "good character".

The report states that in various sections of the British Nationality Act 1981 there are elements of discrimination, for example in the following citations:

-         assume that a person’s parents must be (or must at some point have been) in a marriage or civil partnership

-         provide the relevant “qualifying connection” with the UK, (or a British overseas territory) needs to be with the person’s father or his father’s father

-         only applies to people whose mothers were British

-         only applies to a “wife” of a British citizen and would therefore seem to discriminate against husbands of British nationals

-         only applies to people whose fathers (and not mothers) were serving in the armed forces, Crown service or in an EU institution

The government is expected to discuss the issues in question in early 2019

Posted on Jun 11, 2018.

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